Five of the best-paid jobs you can do after your GCSEs

Five of the best-paid jobs you can do after your GCSEs

We all know that no matter what qualification you have, no single piece of paper is an automatic guarantee of success (lottery tickets not included).

Just look at some of the most successful individuals of our era (Richard Branson, Alan Sugar, David Beckham), none of whom have any formal higher education to speak of.

Whilst not everyone’s lucky enough to become a footballer or has the ideas to become a successful entrepreneur, there’s still a wide variety of career choices available should you choose to forego further education and instead take up your place in the world of work.

Here are five of the best-paid jobs to consider upon completion of your GCSEs:

Sales Executive

Starting Salary: Around £15,000

Career Progression: Senior Sales/Sales Manager £30,000+

Sales: you either have it or you don’t. And if you do, a lucrative career could follow. Whilst there are no formal qualifications needed for an entry-level sales position, excellent communication, good negotiation skills and a goal-driven personality are all musts.

Add to that a few years of experience and a proven track record of hitting your targets, and your basic salary could top £30,000. Not to mention bonuses in the thousands.

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Personal Assistant

Starting Salary: Around £16,000

Career Progression: Executive PA (£35,000+)

If you’re all about the attention-to-detail and have impressive organisational skills, then a career as a PA could be perfect for you.

As a PA you’ll be working closely with an individual (usually a manager or MD) to make their life easier, taking control of everything from admin and reporting through to booking meetings and ensuring their deadlines are met.

For entry-level positions there are no real qualification-based pre-requisites, although you will need to be particularly adept in all Microsoft Office programs.

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How to become an Executive PA »


Starting Salary: £14,000

Career Progression: Head Chef (£30,000+)

Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, Delia Smith. All extremely succesful celebrity chefs and all finished school straight after their GCSEs.

And although that may not be a sure-fire way of ensuring your own success, it does suggest that, for Chefs, experience is almost even more vital than any degree you can take.

Starting as a Commis-Chef will involve hard work, dedication and a natural flair for cooking (not to mention the ability to wash and dry up), but the experience you gain will be vital for your career progression. And once you’re qualified, who knows? Your Michelin Star may only be a few steps away.*

*[ cannot guarantee you will get a Michelin Star]

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Estate Agent

Starting Salary: Around £12,000

Career Progression: £30,000+ OTE

Becoming an Estate Agent: It’s all about location, location, location. Also, good interpersonal skills and a genuine passion for sales are distinct advantages.

You’ll most likely start in a junior position, and the starting wage can be anywhere from around £12,000 to £15,000. Once you’ve built up your local knowledge and negotiation skills, as well as taken advantage of a range of further training opportunities, your potential earnings will be practically limitless.

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Plumber/Electrician/Appliance Engineer

Starting Salary: From £10,000

Career Progression: £35,000+

There are other ways to enhance your skill set than simply sitting your A-levels or studying at university.

Apprenticeships can be a great way to learn in a practical setting, whilst also gaining the valuable experience to start building a career. Additionally, you can work anywhere from large organisations like British Gas to smaller, more specialised firms, and in a range of different trades.

All training and exams will be provided and, who knows, in 10 years’ time you could be your own boss. At the very least, your radiators will always be working.

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How to become an Electrician »

How to become a Plumber »

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